Waupaca County Zoning Committee held a public hearing on Nov. 1, at the Waupaca County Courthouse for the purpose of gathering information and public input for the proposed town of Union non-metallic, silica/frac sand mining operation.
The extra large meeting room in the lower level of the courthouse was packed and overflowing into the outer hallway.
The meeting commenced at 6:30 p.m. with the mine representatives doing their presentation first.
Since the mining interests knew well in advance that there would be a large opposition group, with 20 or more local residents wanting to speak in opposition, and many more that wanted to hear from the opposition, they certainly had it well calculated, to use up the clock with long, drawn out Power Points and information that did not represent the realities certain to come with this heavy industry.
They didn’t yield the floor until 10:30 p.m. By then, people were restless and tired.
They didn’t show a single aerial view of the terrible degradation to the landscape (note the many Jim Tittle online aerial photos of frac sand mines in western Wisconsin).
They didn’t once mention the permanent degradation to the land, degradation to the quality of life for those of us living nearby, or the devaluation of property for those of living nearby, or the degradation to the environment.
They made light of the health impact from the silica dust, minimized water usage and their high capacity well and their intensive water consumption.
They never once touched on the possible contamination or possible disruption to our aquifer and groundwater from their blasting 30 to 40 feet below the water table.
They made noise and light pollution sound like it would be non-existent.
They didn’t discuss the potential impact this heavy industry will have on Tellock Woods Natural Area just about 200 feet from the mine site.
It could possibly spell a slow death for that beautiful local treasure.
All in all, their omission of the realities, the fallout and negative impact on the nearby neighbors and the community does not give them credibility for being a “good neighbor” – as they like to promote themselves.
Late in the evening, after waiting patiently for four hours, nearly 20 speakers in opposition to the mine gave very compelling testimonies, stating the realities and impact that are certain to come with this heavy industry.
Finally, what was most disturbing, and actually insulting, was the final rebuttal from the mine’s representative.
He referred to the opposition’s testimonies as “hearsay” and “mythology.”
He stated that only they (the mine) had come with “experts” and that the opposition wasn’t to be taken seriously.
With representatives speaking like that, no need to wonder why this industry loses public favor.